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Publish Date: 10/2/2005

Plan to thin out county trees set


BOULDER — Local Forest Service officials finalized plans Friday to remove trees on 2,600 acres in northwestern Boulder County to reduce wildfire danger.

The work, outlined in the St. Vrain Fuels Reduction Plan, will thin forests of ponderosa pine trees and mixed conifer stands prone to a catastrophic wildfire.

It will occur within a 30,000-acre project area around Allenspark, Johnny Park and the St. Vrain drainage, said Mark Martin, fuels planning team leader for Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

Martin said private land, with several homes, makes up nearly 10,000 acres within the project area.

“We focused on areas surrounding communities,” Martin said.

The project will cost an estimated $2.5 million, he said, and primarily involves removing trees and debris and burning them in piles.

A very small percentage of the wood could be sold for posts, poles and firewood, depending on the market demand, Martin said.

Workers will clear-cut about 170 acres in patches of a half-acre and smaller. They’ll thin the remainder of the forest acreage by removing 30 percent of the trees in a stand, Martin said.

Cutting probably won’t begin until 2007 and will take three to five years to complete, as long as federal funding remains available, Martin said.

The St. Vrain plan is the sixth fuels- reduction plan completed in the Boulder Ranger District. Officials have approximately 15,000 acres of land planned for treatment, including cutting or prescribed burning.

Douglas Crowl can be reached at 303-684-5253, or by e-mail at dcrowl@times-call.com.

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